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Benefits of having a commercial license in the military?

Wed Apr 04, 2018 1:44 pm

Hi, I'm currently in high school and I am about to graduate. I am planning on going to flight school which will take me to my commercial license at the end of the program. The only down side is that I will not obtain a degree. I know that in order to be a military pilot , I NEED a bachelors degree, but my question is, is having my commercial license before joining the military, more specific, the navy, give me any benefits or advantages?
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Re: Benefits of having a commercial license in the military?

Wed Apr 04, 2018 2:31 pm

I can guarantee you the Navy and Air Force are the same. Having a commercial makes no difference if you are going to attempt to be a pilot. In fact, we had a guy in my UPT class who had quite a few hours and he had plenty of trouble. There are subtle differences in military procedures vs. civilian procedures. One big issue was he had a tendency to think he knew more than most of the instructors. Not a good way to make a name for yourself.

Having some experience is worthwhile but I wouldn't spend the time and money to get a CPL.
If we weren't all crazy we'd all go insane!
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Re: Benefits of having a commercial license in the military?

Wed Apr 04, 2018 2:57 pm

I'll agree with mmo somewhat but here are my two cents:

Having 200 or so hours prior to applying for a military pilot training slot, may help in getting you selected. However there are other factors involved of course such as test scores, physical results and the current needs of the military.

The general consensus among those who already have received their wings is that having a couple hundred of hours prior to starting military training, will help you initially because you already understand the basics of flying and have overcome fears/airsickneess.

But by the time you have finished in the primary trainer T-6 or T-34 your previous flying experience won't count for much. You will be competing with fellow officers who may have grasped the concepts of military flying faster and better. However, if you apply yourself and have a natural talent for understanding your relationship in four dimensions (x,y,z, timing) then you will be competitive but doesn't mean you'll be near the top of your class. In my ancient class (1974 USAF), I already had a commercial and 220 hours, but finished about #16 out of a class of 35.

So bottom line, maybe it'll help, maybe not....but flying is flying so get as much as you can if you can afford it and throw in some aerobatics in that 200 hours to introduce you to 'Gs'.
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Re: Benefits of having a commercial license in the military?

Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:39 pm

When I started Air Force UPT (around the time of the French & Indian War... ;) ) I had my PPL and about 125 hours total time. I'm not sure if it made a difference in getting a pilot slot - I went through ROTC, and I'm not sure I had finished the PPL by the time I got the slot. Like RW says, having some time will help you when you start off, things won't be completely foreign to you, so will have a slight edge when you start drinking from that fire hose. Military flying is completely different - well, not from the whole "push forward, the houses get bigger, pull back, the houses get smaller" thing - but procedures, techniques, heck, even flying the T-37, it was twice as fast as the Pipers I had been flying. Long story short - it can't hurt to have your license, but a CPL won't really give you much more than a PPL.
KC-135 - Passing gas and taking names!
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Re: Benefits of having a commercial license in the military?

Wed Apr 04, 2018 10:25 pm

Whatever training you get before hand. It’s best to keep an open mind to learning and have a humble attitude and that you don’t know everything.

In the end you are competing with your peers in flight school. What matters is how you do at the present time ranked against your peers. Past performance doesn’t mean much.

Actually that sums up just about everything when it comes to promotion or board selection in the military.
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
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Re: Benefits of having a commercial license in the military?

Wed Apr 25, 2018 4:51 am

Years ago (1970) the navy was getting short of pilots due to Viet Nam and came up with a plan to use Enlisted troops to fly critical parts between the training bases (Pensacola FL, Meridian MS, Beeville and Kingsville TX. ) I actually got qualed to fly the Navy C12 but the USAF thought that was a bad idea and offered their planes and crews to fly logistics. Then the Military opened it up to commercial airlines like Zantop, Evergreen, and Trans America,.
because they would have a much larger payload and their potentaI Safety records wouldn't be compromised.
After 9 months of training? I was back turning a wrench and even though I later flew as a P3 Flight Engineer, and Later a B747-200 PFE,
I never again wanted to become a Pilot Being away from home just wasn't something I looked forward to, especially after becoming a Dad.
My training paid off in me becoming a Maintenance Controller for United and having to consult pilots in flight who might have problems with their airplanes because I knew what concerns they had and the "Pucker Factor" they might be having working through a possible problem. in 17 years I might have had 3 diversions on the B737 and A320/A319's I was responsible for and 2 of those were bird strikes with a couple of cracked cockpit windshields I was fortunate that I Never had a fatality while I was on duty. And my worst problem was working Rotating Shifts and getting to work in Chicago while it was snowing like hell. From the Northwest 'burbs' to Downtown at the Willis Tower building. for That? I'm glad I retired. But I did love the work and I highly respect the guys who do it (At ANY Airline)!! It's not a job for the feint of Heart.
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Re: Benefits of having a commercial license in the military?

Thu Apr 26, 2018 2:10 am

Everything said above is true. The only benefit would be the experience and the increased "airmanship" you might gain with a commercial licence...or rather the flight time and training associated with getting that certification.

In addition - after the completion of Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training, you can bring some supporting documents to an FAA examiner location and you can take an military equivalence written exam and get a commercial licence that way, as well as a turbine rating. If you graduated from T-1A training, you would also get multi-engine turbine and a BE/MU-400 type rating. T-38 graduates can get a multi as well, but with a centerline thrust restriction on the multi-engine.

IMHO - if you care about military flying, get an undergraduate degree and don't worry about the commercial.
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Re: Benefits of having a commercial license in the military?

Tue May 15, 2018 8:10 pm

There's next to no benefit of having a commercial in the military. It might get you a pilot slot easier, but everyone is on the same playing field from there. The military really doesn't care what flight training you have because they're going to put you through their own syllabus to completion.

I think you're putting the cart before the horse here, though. You need the bachelors to fly for the military and you'll need it to be competitive at every major airline. You will quickly get frustrated if you go into the military as enlisted hoping to work your way up to OCS which is what will happen without a degree. I would find a decent college, join ROTC for AF or Navy, pick a degree program you like, you can even fly in the meantime if you want, and access the military that way. You'll knock out the degree, get an officer's commission, pay for a lot of your schooling, and have a good shot at a pilot slot assuming you're not a total idiot, all in one go.

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